In the Knife Capital of Kentucky stands the world’s largest pocketknife and Wednesday one of the newest Guinness Book of World Record holders celebrated the feat.
At Red Hill Cutlery in Radcliff, which also houses the American Pocketknife Museum, a crowd gathered outside to celebrate the newly confirmed world’s largest pocketknife that sits on the property with local dignitaries, those involved with the project and community members on hand.
“It couldn’t just be a knife store,” said Jason Basham, co-owner of Red Hill Cutlery, in remarks to the crowd about the idea for the knife. “It had to be a destination. It had to be a place that brought people to Radcliff.”
The knife officially stands 34 feet, 6 inches as confirmed by Guinness. The blade alone weighs about 1,500 pounds and sits on a 20-foot pedestal, according to Red Hill Cutlery co-owner Lonnie Basham, father of Jason. Lonnie’s other son, Josh, also had a hand in the project.
The previous record of holder was a knife with a handle of 111 inches and a blade was 97 inches. It is on display at the Pink Square Mall in Jaipur, India.
Jason Basham credited in his remarks several who contributed to the project, including Radcliff/Fort Knox Tourism Commission, which donated money for the construction of the knife; Glenn Bieber of Glenn’s Auto Body, who painted the knife; Modern Welding in Elizabethtown, who constructed the knife from steel; Ward Frahler, who designed the artwork for the design; and W.R. Case & Sons, which allowed the Bashams to fashion the knife after the classic Barlow pattern from the company’s blueprints.
“It’s really a testament to Hardin County, the people of Hardin County and businesses in Hardin County that we can make something like that here and break a world record,” he said. “I hope it leads to a lot more things to come for the area.”
Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall recalled a story for the crowd about the day the state legislature voted to designate the city as the Knife Capital of Kentucky. Duvall said a senator seated behind him voiced his cynicism at the attempt.
Duvall said after the senator heard how much the Bashams and their knife business had contributed to the local and state economy, he changed his tune.
“When the vote was made, guess what that senator did?” Duvall said. “He voted for it because he actually heard how important the Basham family is to the economy here in the state of Kentucky and how important it is here locally to Radcliff.”
Before the presentation, Duvall said in an interview having the world’s largest pocketknife is an asset to the city.
“To have something here in our community that can draw people in … I think this novelty is something that will be great for Radcliff in the future and great to be a part of it as the current mayor,” he said.
Case Associated Vice President of Marketing Brent Tyler said although some at the company had their doubts about the project at first, especially in the location away from its headquarters in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the knife has become a showpiece for the company.
“Anytime somebody comes to you with an idea for a knife 30 feet tall, you meet it with a little bit of skepticism,” he said, adding the company trusted the Bashams and their vision. “As we started to talk through it and the opportunity and (Jason) told us what was going on in the area, we thought it would be the perfect way to help him crown Radcliff as the Knife Capital of Kentucky.”
The location for the knife also helps Case in its marketing efforts, Tyler said.
“The heartbeat of Case is down here in the South right now,” he said. “Having this in such a high profile area and knowing what’s going on in this community and this area, the growth that they’re seeing here, it means a lot to us as a company to have this type of representation for the residents and the tourists that come through this area.”